Climate Change and Home Selling
Climate change is affecting the home selling process. Here is what you need to know.
It is 2022 and Southern California is just emerging from yet another multi-year drought. It feels like drought is our new normal and homebuyers are paying attention. Here are the top issues our buyers are considering and how to address them.
Solar Energy Panels
Solar energy is incredibly attractive to today’s climate-conscious homebuyer. It gets hotter every year and the cost of energy is on a rapid rise. I’ve seen solar energy panels go from “meh” to hot commodity in just the last few years.
Attractive financing options and potential tax incentives make the process relatively easy.
You could earn a 26% credit on your federal income tax and various cities often have additional incentives. As an example, the City of Glendale offered a cash incentive of $0.25 per kilowatt in 2021 (with caveats. of course). The landscape is constantly changing and a reputable solar company will guide you on currently available incentives and rebates.
Check out a podcast I did with Glendale City Council Member Dan Brotman. We explored how to shop for a solar energy panel company.
Drought Tolerant Yards
Large sections of emerald green grass are the first casualty of a climate change environment. Get rid of it and replace with drought-tolerant native plants. There is still rebate money available to help you pay for this- click this link Turf Replacement Rebate Program for more information. This is especially important if you have a large lot.
Old fashioned sprinklers are also water wasters. Drip irrigation is water-wise and simple to install. Adding a thick layer of compost or mulch over your lines will lengthen their life as well as slow evaporation.
Pools suck up a huge amount of water and energy, but they are still very popular despite drought and climate change. A homeowner can cut down on water loss from evaporation with a simple custom-cut plastic bubble cover and it also helps heat your pool! Consider adding a roller to help with getting the cover on and off.
Fire Sensitive Neighborhoods
Climate change has contributed to an increase in catastrophic fires in California and homebuyers are concerned. They notice dry brush, narrow winding roads, and steep hillsides.
On the other hand, homebuyers still love living close to nature and views. If your home is already as fire-safe as you can make it, do everything you can to highlight a peaceful, nature-filled lifestyle. Plant native flowering shrubs to attract birds and butterflies and arrange furniture to highlight your views.
Fire Insurance is a lot more expensive and difficult to obtain as a result of climate change and increase fire danger. Your homebuyer will likely need to get insurance from the California Fair Plan and that is more expensive and takes a bit longer to process. This is true even if you currently have “normal” insurance.
Homebuyers who are concerned about increased fire danger due to climate change notice the following neighborhood features: canyons with only one way in or out, roads that limit access to emergency vehicles, non-irrigated brush or hillside proximity, steep hillsides, and dense closely packed neighborhoods.
High Winds and Large Trees
Another climate change-induced factor is the frequency of high Santa Ana winds.
Large trees, stressed by long-term drought conditions, drop large limbs or fall over completely during intense wind conditions. Climate-conscious homebuyers ask about the health and safety of large trees more frequently than ever before.
Make sure your large trees are healthy and regularly pruned and shaped.
Battling The Heat
Homebuyers are paying attention to the energy cost of cooling a home because climate change means more uncomfortably hot days.
Even if you have solar energy panels, ceiling fans and whole-house fans are big winners with today’s buyers. Install a ceiling fan in every bedroom and consider installing them in all of your primary rooms.
Add energy-saving tint to any south-facing windows. Planting shade trees to shield these windows is a super-smart long-term play!
Read more Good Advice For Home Sellers on our Ultimate Home Seller’s Guide– a collection of our best articles for the Glendale home seller.